- Only a few budding EV startups are making good on their promises to shake up the auto industry.
- Lucid Motors, a startup in Newark, California, is one of them, experts and analysts say.
- Here’s Lucid’s game plan, led by CEO Peter Rawlinson, to realize its ambitions.
Lucid Motors is one of many companies trying to make a name for themselves within the trying world of electric vehicles.
Unlike many other nascent players that have floundered under intense capital expenditures and manufacturing challenges, the startup in Newark, California, is so far holding its own against the likes of Rivian. But CEO Peter Rawlinson has his sights aimed quite a bit higher than that.
There is a lot going for Lucid right now: The company went public this year, pushed its first cars off assembly lines, and hit a major EPA-range milestone on its flagship vehicle.
Below, you can read more about Lucid’s leadership, its performance against other industry contenders, and its recent successes and SPAC deal. Still, the startup isn’t exempt from the challenges facing a changing industry – you can read more on that, too.
CEO Peter Rawlinson leads the company
At the helm of Lucid is Peter Rawlinson, a former chief engineer of the Model S under Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO. He left Tesla after three years, feeling frustrated and limited in his work there.
Rawlinson, 63, is a mechanical engineer by training. He joined Lucid as CTO in 2013 and rose to power as CEO in 2019. He’s determined to lead in the same space that’s seen the rise and fall of other EV startups, such as Nikola, Lordstown, and Faraday Future.
Sources told Insider that Rawlinson’s primary motivation was beating Tesla and one-upping his old boss. He said he wanted to build the “best car in the world.”
Lucid as a contender
Alongside Rivian, Lucid is widely considered Tesla’s most promising rival.
The company is making its debut with its flagship luxury sedan, the Air. First up is the $US169,000 ($AU226,616) Dream Edition that offers a 520-mile (837km) range. The automaker has plans to release less expensive versions in the future, and it’s also developing an SUV, the Gravity.
Sources told Insider that the Air was everything Tesla’s Model S wasn’t: It’s got 115 miles (185km) more range, more acceleration, and a different take on a minimalist interior. As a result, many found the vehicle – and the company – an impressive contender.
Lucid has made many headlines in recent months. It not only hit an EPA rating of 520 miles (837km) but also started getting vehicles off assembly lines. The company said it planned to begin customer deliveries in October.
Investors and industry experts are generally bullish about the company, saying it’s built to last and a good place for budding entrepreneurs and engineers to start their careers.
Earlier this year, Lucid followed the footsteps of many other EV startups and went public via a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company. The deal with Churchill Capital IV brought in a whopping $US4.5 ($AU6) billion – the largest SPAC deal the industry has seen.
But where others fell hard after taking their companies public via SPAC, Lucid has generally seen success.
Industry and internal challenges
While Lucid is a strong player in the world of EVs, many challenges – both specific and industry-wide – could stand in the way of its long-term success.
Supply-chain issues have wreaked havoc on major automakers across the globe. Lucid has struggled to build relationships with suppliers that don’t necessarily want to place their bets on a risky startup. Getting the Air out saw a few delays, and quality control may prove vital for any electric-vehicle startup trying to outdo Tesla. It’s no easy feat to build an all-star team, ramp up brand-new manufacturing processes, and deliver the most efficient EV in the world.
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